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rikguenther
November 21st, 2006, 07:58 PM
I am writing a position paper to give to someone at our school district displaying the benefits of using linux at school in place of microshit windows. im pretty sure it will have no effect and my voice will be shunned by higher authority, but i might as well try. i was just wondering how people felt about this, and if they could give me a resource or 2 to use to assist me.

IYY
November 21st, 2006, 08:22 PM
There are many recent success stories in South Africa. The main benefit is being able to use all sorts of old PCs as thin clients, so that there is no need to throw away old computers.

PriceChild
November 21st, 2006, 08:49 PM
Don't forget to promote Edubuntu for the younger schools.

Redache
November 21st, 2006, 08:57 PM
The only problem with authorities is they work on figures and figures alone. You could preach the philosophy of Linux until the cows come home but with our relevant figures it won't work.

You need to weigh up the cost and benefits of Windows and the cost and benefits of a Linux distribution. List all of the cons of both these OS's and try and build a cost of implementation structure i.e. how much it'll cost to train relevant staff in Linux, how much it will cost for the installation of it and also the benefits to the schools through it's use (i.e. it'll help with overall computer literacy as Linux forces the user to think differently and makes them and their computer interact at a more personal level.)

Also mention the security benefits associated with Linux, Remember to document the security issues inherent with Windows (i.e. the easy overturning of the Admin account from Command Line.). Also mention Sudo and repeat it a few million times.

If you structure it well and have honest figures I can't see why any LEA (Local Education Authority) would have a problem with adjusting, that is unless they have a big money deal with Microsoft.

MedivhX
November 21st, 2006, 09:38 PM
Well no chance for that in my school... We're learning VisualBASIC and Serbian government is M$-addicted...

DoctorMO
November 21st, 2006, 09:48 PM
Visual Basic shouldn't be studied; it's not free and your skills are wasted.

I know I'm an expert in VB, I did intensive 6 year training, what a waste.

aysiu
November 21st, 2006, 09:52 PM
im pretty sure it will have no effect and my voice will be shunned by higher authority Having worked in several schools as a teacher, I can tell you you're bound to fail if you have that kind of attitude.

If you want your proposal to be effective, this is what you should do:

1. Talk to a teacher or administrator you trust. Ask her what she thinks is the best way to approach this so that the higher-ups will know you're serious. Even if she herself doesn't know the correct protocal for these things, she will be able to refer to someone who does. Following the correct procedures is one step towards getting your proposal approved.

2. Make the prose in your proposal formal and professional. No typos. No IM abbreviations. No exclamation points or exaggeration. Don't slander Microsoft or Windows. Weigh the pros and cons in an objective fashion and acknowledge there are some advantages to using Windows (and say what those advantages are).

Get several people to proofread the proposal and offer advice on how to revise it. If possible, get an English teacher to eye it over and give you some suggestions.

3. Do your research and give numbers. You do, in your written proposal, have to make a convincing logical case for the school to switch or consider switching, but you also have to find out how much money they're currently spending on computers, what they're using those computers for, and how much money they will save by using Linux instead.

Be sure your numbers don't come out of nowhere. Find news stories with actual figures of what schools have saved in other districts or countries. I know Indiana is doing a test of Linspire workstations for students. A bunch of Oregon schools use Linux in some form or other, and there are also some schools in England and Germany that do as well. Find the schools that have switched, find news stories... hell, find the people who work there and see if you can talk to them. By putting in that amount of effort, you're showing the administration that your proposal is a serious one.

4. If your proposal is taken seriously, arrange for a demonstration as well, in which you can show the power of a Linux desktop.

In the end, your school may opt to stick with Microsoft products, but even then you won't have failed. You will probably have raised awareness at least among the faculty and administration about Linux and open source alternatives. And despite the school not adopting Linux en masse, some teachers and administrators might start using Firefox and OpenOffice and GIMP in their personal lives on the their computers at home.

You will have a positive impact if you take this seriously and put in the proper energy.

You may want to read this:
http://www.psychocats.net/essays/linuxwindowscomparison

DoctorMO
November 21st, 2006, 10:11 PM
Go rikguenther

aysiu
November 21st, 2006, 10:20 PM
Teachers and administrators are strange creatures--not taking students' causes seriously at first ("Oh, how cute"), but once you wow them with your determination, they become your champions ("Look at what our students can do!").

petersjm
November 21st, 2006, 10:29 PM
I personally think the first thing you need to get across (if you possibly can) is a valid answer to "Yeah, but what about when the kids leave school and get office jobs, eh? They won't be using Linux in the office, so we have to continue teaching Windows-based apps".

aysiu
November 21st, 2006, 10:34 PM
I personally think the first thing you need to get across (if you possibly can) is a valid answer to "Yeah, but what about when the kids leave school and get office jobs, eh? They won't be using Linux in the office, so we have to continue teaching Windows-based apps".
Good point.

In addition to that, you should anticipate these questions/challenges:

1. There are some Windows-only applications we need. Can we run those?

2. Won't support and training for staff cost too much?

3. What will we do with all the hardware we already have?

4. How long will the migration take?

There are probably going to be at least ten other questions, too.

56phil
November 21st, 2006, 11:31 PM
rikguenther, money talks. I suggest you focus on the economic benefits of Linux in the organization, if they exist. It looks like you have a defeatist attitude. You need to work on that to. Work hard on this project. You may find your hard work will open doors you never even knew existed. Luck favors the prepared.

.t.
November 21st, 2006, 11:50 PM
Let me know how this goes. I'd love to recommend this to my school, but it really isn't feasible. There are too many rubbish "educational" applications for the lower school to "enjoy", and, being a specialist music college, we "need" Sibelius. In fact, I have to use an XP QEmu virtual machine to run it (and it works quite well - although I'd recommend to build from CVS). We also have rather a lot of music tech applications, such as Cubase (Rosegarden?) and plenty of hardware that the music technician wouldn't know where to begin with under Linux. If I had the time, I'm sure I could research it all to work fantastically using JACK and a nicely tuned kernel, but I just don't see my school's IT department being able to do it.

petersjm
November 22nd, 2006, 12:12 AM
...I just don't see my school's IT department being able to do it.

Speaking of which, our IT department at work know I'm a Linux man at heart, and the IT manager thinks that's great, but I still can't convince him to roll it out at work!